Rep. Capps commends bill to speed up new credit card rules

Legislation to speed up the start date of credit card reforms enacted earlier this year has passed the House of Representatives and now goes to the Senate, according to Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

The original bill would protect consumers from unfair interest rate hikes on existing balances, double-cycle billing, and “due-date gimmicks,” Capps wrote in a news release.

But it contained a start date of Feb. 22, 2010, and credit card companies have been using the intervening months to “arbitrarily raise interest rates, minimum payments, and fees on consumers,” Capps wrote.

“The card companies’ deceitful tactics are completely unacceptable, particularly as families on the Central and South Coasts struggle to make ends meet during this recession,” Capps wrote.

Under the legislation passed Wednesday, the bill would take effect as soon as President Obama signs off on the change. Capps’s legislative aide, Emily Kryder, told The Tribune that there is no set date, but it will happen as soon as the legislation gets through the Senate, most likely “in the coming weeks.”

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, did not respond to a request for comment.